Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

A regional approach to business

Southwire Grand Opening

Southwire Grand Opening

A few weeks ago, community and business leaders welcomed Southwire, North America’s largest cable producer to Lake Norman when they purchased ABB located in Huntersville.  Southwire acquired the 240,000 square-foot, 3-year-old plant which features state-of-the-art technology for producing high-voltage underground transmission cables. The company plans to add another 20 employees to the 65-member staff at the facility within the next two years.

While I have toured the plant on a couple of occasions, I enjoyed another trip around the facility marveling at the advanced technology required to produce the high voltage cable. A real treat is gazing out of an observation window at the top of the 430’ tower onto the Lake Norman landscape with the Charlotte skyljne in the horizon.

A number of Chamber Board members, both past and present, attended the announcement and we talked about the seed that was planted more than a decade ago.  At a Chamber Board retreat in 1999, we discussed the need to create both a travel and tourism and economic development organization that could bring events and jobs to the region.

As more in-depth discussion ensued, we realized partnering with the three North Mecklenburg towns was the best opportunity to bring the vision to reality. Shortly thereafter, Visit Lake Norman was created followed by the Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation.  The Chamber commissioned a land use study in 2002 with Leake Goforth which detailed potential locations for commercial, industrial, and retail tracts allowing our towns to diversify the tax base and bring primary jobs to the region.

Charlotte skyline from Southwire

Charlotte skyline from the 430′ Southwire tower

It was not the first time the chamber collaborated with the towns in such a manner. In early 1997, chamber leaders pushed NC DOT for an access management study to widen NC Hwy 73 from Lincoln County to Concord. Such a study over three counties and several municipalities had never been undertaken before and were initially dismissed by DOT.

However, the three chambers of commerce – Cabarrus, Lincoln County, and Lake Norman – worked together with our towns to create what is known today as the NC Hwy 73 Council of Planning with the end result to widen and improve Hwy 73. It is an example of a Public-Private Partnership that is working for our region.

This month at our October 16th Focus Friday, we will look back on the formation of the Hwy 73 COP and discuss planned developments and improvements for the corridor.

The poet John Greenleaf Whittier once wrote, “For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.”

Our region faces great challenges and with it awesome possibilities.  When the story of tomorrow is written, it will not be what could have been, but what we accomplished by working hard, working smart, and working together.

Advertisements

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Langtree at the Lake – Our Rising Tide

Bill Russell speaking at Lake Norman Chamber Focus Friday

Last week, I was at a local restaurant in Huntersville when a Lake Norman Chamber member asked about Langtree at the Lake.  This particular individual was not able to attend the very informative Focus Friday session we held last month at the Chamber.    Anyone who drives past exit 31 off I-77  has seen the tremendous activity as the first phase of construction is under way for the mixed-use development.  This member understood that soon the North Meck -South Iredell area will see 300 luxury apartments as well as a 350,000 square foot Ethosphere building which would include a full service hotel.

The 14-story building (if approved) would also contain at least 14,000 square feet of much-needed meeting room space.  The project, an $800 million investment for R.L. West Properties, is expected to be an 8-10 year build out and will have a considerable retail footprint in our region.     This particular gentleman inquired if properties like Birkdale Village in Huntersville or Jetton Village in Cornelius would suffer with the introduction of Langtree at the Lake.  “Not at all,” I responded, “Langtree will be the perfect complement to our lake lifestyle and add an additional regional resource as Lake Norman emerges as a destination for the business and leisure traveler.

Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins speaking about Langtree at the Lake

Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins attended the Focus Friday and told the packed room of Lake Norman Chamber members, “I believe this development will be transformative and will have a very positive economic impact and provide an enhanced standard of living option for Mooresville and the Lake Norman region.”  Atkins continued, “It will serve as an anchor aligning Mooresville – South Iredell with our North Mecklenburg town partners, and help define our place in the greater Charlotte region.  I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities a project of this magnitude could mean for all of us.”

Steve Welly, president of R.L West and Jerry Broadway, Executive Director of the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation echoed Mayor Atkins comments.     Broadway, using a lake analogy, told the Focus Friday attendees, “A rising tide lifts all boats…”  and reminded all of us that a project like Langtree at the Lake impacts all of us.  “I look at the Langtree project as a regional project, an element that creates a positive quality of life for everyone.”

Langtree at the Lake – a vision of the Howard family (Brad and Rick) – is a welcome sight indeed. Langtree is making a splash at Mooresville and that wave of energy and vitality will be felt on the shores of Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Catawba.    Langtree, and other developments like it, are another reason the rising tide will lift our businesses and communities if we are brave enough to leave the safety of the shore.  We must invest in the unbridled opportunities that await us by working hard, working smart and working together.

Bill Russell, President

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment